In a significant ruling, the Supreme court has held that it is unsafe to convict a person on the basis of an FIR lodged belatedly without explaining the delay.
A bench comprising Justices C K Thakker and D K Jain upheld the judgement of the Andhra Pradesh High Court dated April 12, 2006, acquitting her husband in a case of dowry harassment.
The apex court observed, ”We are convinced that in the light of the overall evidence analysed by the High Court, the order of the acquittal of the respondent is well merited and does not call for interference, particularly when the FIR was lodged by the complainant more than one month after the alleged incident of forcible poisoning.” ”Time and again, the object and importance of prompt lodging of FIR has been highlighted. Delay in lodging the report more often than not, results in embellishment and exaggeration, which is a creature of an afterthought,” the apex court noted.
”A delayed report not only gets bereft of the advantage of spontaneity, the danger of the introduction of coloured version, exaggerated account of the incident or a concocted story as a result of deliberations and consultations, also creeps in, casting a serios doubt on its veracity,” it said.
”Therefore, it is essential that the delay in lodging the report should be satisfactorily explained,” the court added.
In the present case, three members of in-laws’ family were acquiitted by the trial court but husband M Madhusudan Rao was sentenced to one-year imprisonment with a fine of Rs 8000.
The High Court, however, acquitted the husband also. The SC dismised the appeal of the AP government.